By Stacy Melanie Jerger (@ApoideaEdits)
I’m not sure what kind of coincidence the universe was playing on me, but I recently discovered Marissa’s books around the same time she was due to stop in at a local bookstore near me.
No need to mention that I greedily blew through her first two books in the Lunar Chronicles series days before the book signing.
The event started with a casual Q&A from Marissa and three other authors, Leila Sales, Alexandra Coutts, and S. A. Bodeen.
After a little while of answers, laughs, and some discussion, I asked my question: What’s your writing process, and has it changed from book to book?
As a developmental editor, I love learning about authors’ writing processes, how the pieces of their stories fit together. If they write chronologically, or out of order and sew the pieces into the order of their choosing. How authors handle more than one plot line and keep track of which characters know what.
From what I remember in my haze of fan-ship, Marissa said she usually writes chronologically, but with Scarlet, she wrote the multiple story lines separately and then arranged the scenes in the right order.
I’ve thought a lot about my editing process and the pieces I have to work with in a client’s manuscript:
- How content is organized (transitions, back story, logical structure, flow)
- How well developed and consistent characters are
- If setting and sensory details are established and make sense
- How strong the conflict is
- How the plot is structured (plot points, arc)
- If tone, POV, and language choices are consistent and appropriate
It’s a lot of moving parts and they all have to fit together in a logical, compelling order that meets the author’s goals and the reader’s expectations.
It’s mentally intensive, headache-y FUN TIMES.
This process and mode of thinking is not so different from how some authors approach their revision process, too.
So, I was happy as a clam to hear these authors talk about their writing process and what works for them.
Not only do I enjoy the Lunar Chronicles for what they are, but Marissa’s writing is influenced by Sailor Moon (the anime that helped me survive high school, seriously), and Firefly (one of my all-time favorite shows that I still hope will continue someday, someday).
But as Marissa was signing my precious copy of Cinder in brilliant purple loops, all of those thoughts and some other squeal-y nonsensical worshiping flew out of my head. Although it was probably best I didn’t take that chance to trip over my tongue with all that useless chatter. LOL!
I did, however, walk away with a smile and this:
Now I ask you, friends.
What’s your writing process, and has it changed from book to book?
Have you recently read a book that’s made you reflect on your own writing or editing process? Amazed you in some way and inspired you to do better?